The course concerns the sources of innovations and firms’ innovation strategies. We will go through how firms traditionally work with internal R&D and then emphasize on ways for the firm to connect to external sources of innovations, for example universities, suppliers, users and so forth.
We will, however, put most emphasize on the users of the services or products, because it has been found that users are a particular important source of innovation. Furthermore, we will discuss the challenges of opening up for external ideas and also look at firms that are “born open”. The course will distinguish between different types of the firm’s outbound activities to engage users in the innovation process; crowdsourcing, idea contests, innovation communities and lead-user method.
There will a special lecture of innovation communities and we will look into active communities as well as some historic ones such as the famous Homebrew Club for personal computers in Silicon Valley in the 70’s. This will lead us to pose questions such as why individuals put in so much time and effort into creating new products and services without being paid to do so. We will, therefore, scrutinize the underlying mechanisms for open source software and talk about the lessons learned in e.g. the development of Linux.
These types of innovations are not created within the boundaries of a firm or in an organizational setting of the firm. Sometimes when users have created an innovation they chose to commercialize it themselves, and we shall look a bit deeper into what is now being called user entrepreneurs. Well known cases are the Wright Brothers and Google.
We will touch upon related topics such as open data, open science, eco-systems etc.